Wednesday, July 30, 2014
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As 1986 ended, a lot of commentators were looking back at the greatest moments of the year, and some of the most tragic moments too. And they all mentioned a player named Len Bias. At 22 years old, he was the number one college basketball star in the United States. He'd been drafted by the then champions Boston Celtics. He had a 1.6 million dollar deal to do commercials. Newsweek Magazine said, "They were the best days of his life."
And so he went to celebrate in a dorm at the University of Maryland by snorting some cocaine, and then some more, and some more. Some friends warned him, "Be careful." He's reported to have said, "Hey, I can handle anything." He was dead within hours. In a sense, success killed him. And in one way or another, it's done that to a lot of people. Many an athletic team has won a lopsided, easy victory one week, only to give away their next game in an embarrassing defeat. I guess in some ways, you're never in greater danger than when you're "on a roll."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Dangers of Winning."
Our word for today from the Word of God is about a man who was "on a roll"-a man who was winning "big time". He was one of the kings, and for a while one of the great kings in the Old Testament. 2 Chronicles 26:3, "Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years." It goes on to say, "As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success."
And then the rest of the chapter tells about armies that he defeated, the buildings and the towers that he built, this great army that he built, taking his country to new levels of military might and international respect, and economic success. It says, "His fame spread far and wide for he was greatly helped..." Oh, if only the story ended there. Notice these sobering words, "...until he became powerful."
It goes on to say, "But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God." Here he was at first young, struggling, unsure. You know he was deeply dependant on the Lord during those days. There was just a little of Uzziah and a lot of God. And then Uzziah suddenly, after those years, was on top. And now there's a lot of him and only a little of God.
See, in the hard times, you know you need the Lord. You pray desperately, you trust Him just to get through the day. But maybe now you're doing well in business, you're doing well romantically, your finances are finally there; things are coming around. Great! Enjoy it! But don't lose your childlike dependency on the Lord who brought you here, or you won't be here for long.
Has the Lord been seeing or hearing less from you since things got better? If your success makes you more self-centered and less Christ-centered, it could be the worst thing that ever happened to you. Each day acknowledge your Lord as the author of your success. We don't achieve success, we receive success. It's not an achievement. It's a gift from God. And so if you're in a good season right now, if it's a time of success, you've never needed Him more to keep your heart right.
See, God can trust success to those who get closer to Him when they're winning. God's maybe trusted you with good times now. Don't betray His trust.